School of Physics & Astronomy

What is medical physics?

What is medical physics? Member of staff using MRI scanner

About medical physics

As a physics student, you may be wondering, what is medical physics?

Medical physics is the application of physical theory, concepts and methods, to the field of medicine and biomedicine. It is an extremely broad field, ranging from cancer treatment to diagnostic imaging, and including the physics of the body. Physics is a cornerstone of 21st century healthcare.

The medical physics field has exploded over the last century. Modern hospitals are packed with technologies that exploit our abilities to harness fundamental properties of matter. For example, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exploits the quantum properties of the hydrogen atom to make images of the human body with sub-millimetre accuracy and exquisite soft tissue contrast; Radiotherapy exploits high energy electromagnetic waves to treat patients suffering with cancer. Ultrasound, X-rays, computed tomography, EEG, brachytherapy… the list of technologies is extensive, but ultimately they have one common theme – these technologies change, and in many cases, save lives.

In these 'technique case study' videos, medical consultants explain how vital some of these techniques are in diagnosing and treating patients.








In this video, some of our lecturers explain what medical physics is, and what students learn on Nottingham’s medical physics modules.

Find out more


School of Physics and Astronomy

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

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